It’s the age-old question, contacts or glasses? One provides much more ease in the sense that you can slip them on and off as you please, but the other is much more discreet and less obstructive in daily life. However, did you know that a significant benefit of wearing contacts rather than glasses is that contacts can improve your vision?
Read on to learn 14 reasons why vision is better with contacts than glasses. These reasons can vary from their material make-ups to potential obstructions to design, shape, and more.
Contacts Have A Closer Proximity to the Eye
Contacts could provide you with more visual acuity, partially because they are closer to the eye.
Although you could have both contacts and glasses with the same prescription and power strength, your contacts will provide better vision because they are actually on your eye rather than in front of it at a distance.
This allows them to bend light more effectively to fit your prescription, whereas glasses can’t perform this as efficiently because they sit about 12 mm from your eye. Since your glasses are located farther from your eye, they are designed differently and must minimize or maximize what is in your field of vision according to your prescription needs.
Contacts Experience Limited Obstructions
The process of putting contacts on or removing them from your eye might be more tedious than that of glasses, but the benefit of this is that contacts sit on your eye, so it experiences few obstructions.
When wearing glasses, it is essentially unavoidable that the lenses will get covered by all sorts of elements that can obstruct your vision, including:
It is recommended that you clean your glasses once a day. This will keep them in optimal condition and limit unnecessary eye strain as you try to see through the film of smudges and other obstructions that can settle on the lens.
Since your contact sits on your eye, the only time it will be obstructed is if you get some sort of dirt or debris in your eye or even between your lens and your eye. For this reason, it is important to practice appropriate hygiene and wash your hands before applying your contacts.
Contacts Are Harder to Damage
Since your glasses sit on your face and are at the mercy of the elements and your surroundings, they are likely to experience typical wear and tear that can be manifested in the form of scratches on the lenses.
If you wear your glasses every day or during physically demanding tasks, the odds of scratching your lenses increases significantly. Typically, your eye will learn to look around the scratch if it is small enough, but this is an added strain that could further impair or damage your vision.
Sometimes the scratch is simply too large and therefore impossible to see around, rendering a replacement lens essential.
On the one hand, it is difficult to scratch your contacts, so they provide better visual acuity in that sense. On the other hand, contacts are prone to tearing, and once they’re torn, they should be disposed of, versus a lens with a minor scratch or two could still be used depending on its size and location.
Overall, unless you are practicing poor handling with your contacts, it is unlikely that you will scratch or tear your lens in the duration of its use. Here are some tips on proper contact handling to prevent potential damage.
- Always wash your hands before removing or applying contacts. This is essential to the health of your eye as well as the integrity of the contact.
- Use the pad of your fingertip to remove/apply contacts. Never use your fingernails for removal. You are far more likely to scratch the lens or your eye.
- Ensure your contact holding container is clean between uses so it doesn’t sit in contaminants when not in use.
- Make sure your contact is not inside-out when you apply it. If you hold the contact on your fingertip, it should have a bowl shape. If it is inside out, the ends will curve/flare out.
Following these simple steps will ensure the longevity of your contacts as well as your ocular health. It is also important to change and dispose of your contacts as directed by the packaging and your doctor for additional safety.
Contact Lenses Don’t Create Glares
No human eye is a match for the brilliant rays of the sun. However, contacts do provide improved vision over glasses because they don’t create glares when exposed to direct sunlight.
Glares are created on the glasses’ lenses when the sun hits the glass and is reflected off. Not only can the sunlight damage your eyes, but the glare also makes it nearly impossible to see and causes most individuals to turn their heads or move to see properly again.
There are some glasses that are made with an anti-glare coating (AR coating) that increases visibility by preventing this glaring effect. Unfortunately, these are specialized lenses that are often a more costly investment than an ordinary or prescribed lens.
Although the sun’s ultraviolet rays still pose an issue for contact-wearers as it would for any individual when considering their ocular health, they don’t reflect light the way glasses. This is due to their design and the fact that they are located on your eye rather than in front of it.
Therefore, if you live in a sunny location, you might want to invest in contacts rather than glasses for maximum visual acuity. And of course, a little investment in good sunglasses will give you more sun protection.
Contacts Aren’t Subjected to the Elements
Because glasses have lenses that sit away from your face, they are at the mercy of the elements. Not only does this increase their likelihood of getting dirty, smudged, or damaged, as we mentioned previously, but they are subject to elemental obstructions, such as rain.
Rain poses a significant problem for individuals that wear glasses because there is little you can do but try to shield yourself from their watery torrent. Not only does the rainwater coat your lenses and obstruct or distort your vision, but you will also have to wipe it away or wait for it to dry. This, in turn, will create more streaks and marks on the glass to further impede your vision.
Again, unless the lenses are cleaned, these obstructions will cause strain on the eyes as the wearer tries to see through the smudgy film.
Speaking of smudge in some cases when your tear film does not have the best quality little drops accumulate on your lids. Oftentimes this can reduce visual acuity with contacts as well as with glasses. Here above you can see a picture of one of my customers.
Although contacts can be, more or less, flooded out of your eye if there are excessive amounts of water to loosen its hold, it will not however, distort your vision when it comes to rain. However, rain isn’t the only element that can affect your vision.
|Obstructive elements||How they affect vision with glasses|
|Rain||As previously mentioned above, rain can easily impede your vision by covering your glasses in a layer of liquid. Not only is rainwater difficult to see through, it also distorts images by magnifying their size and altering their shape.|
|Snow||Another form of precipitation, snow has ultimately the same effect as rain in that it can cover your glasses in obstructive liquids. One important difference however is that snow occurs in cold temperatures. This means that the water can freeze on your glasses and create a frosty layer you would have to remove in order to see properly.|
|Wind||As an element, wind itself won’t necessarily obstruct your vision, but it can carry debris and dirt that could potentially stick to your lenses. Additionally, if your glasses aren’t fitted properly, a high-powered wind could blow them off your face and then you would be without visual aid, whereas it is highly unlikely wind could blow a contact off your eye.|
Contacts Don’t Fog-Up
It’s the age-old struggle of glasses wearers. You go from the cold outdoors to a nicely heated interior and, whoosh! The lenses on your glasses are consumed by a light cloud that obstructs your entire field of vision.
Fog occurs on the lens of glasses when hot air hits a cold surface and creates condensation. It is the water vapor in the air that makes this possible; it is typically provided by your breath, sweat, steam, or humidity in the air immediately surrounding you.
Not only is the cloudy layer that covers your lens inconvenient because it blocks your vision, but it also potentially leads to other forms of visual obstructions.
Most individuals won’t wait for the fog to clear on its own, and instead, they will wipe it away, potentially creating new smudges on the lenses and a new obstruction that could strain their eyes.
Luckily, when you wear contacts, you don’t have to worry about drastic temperature changes and fog. After they have been applied, contacts will heat from room temperature of 20–22 °C (68–72 °F), to what is considered eye temperature (ET), which has an average of 34,51 ± 0,82 °C.
As it heats, it also shrinks for a more precise fit onto your eye, and it is this fit along with the heat provided by your cornea that prevents your contacts from becoming cold enough to fog.
Contact Shape Allows Larger Field of Vision
When it comes to shape, glasses and contacts differ greatly. Glasses are comprised of two lenses that each have an “eye size” that typically falls within the range of 40mm to 62mm. They are designed to fit on the bridge of your nose and sit 12 mm away from your eye for maximum efficiency.
However, when you wear a pair of glasses you’ll notice whenever you look down without moving your head or you try to glance out of your peripheral vision that your vision is blurred.
This is because these locations are outside your glasses’ field of vision. Because the lenses on your glasses are stable pieces of equipment settled on your nose, they follow the movements of your head, not your eyes.
Conversely, contacts allow for better vision because they sit directly on your eye and are designed with a globe-shaped to perfectly fit the curvature of your eye.
Especially with two different RXs for each eye (aka anisometropia) this can be a big advantage.
This allows for maximum field of vision as the contact can efficiently cover the cornea and move with your eye to provide constant clarity wherever you look versus glasses where you must turn your head to keep what you want to see in your glasses’ field of vision.
Having these glasses, or basic contacts can improve your peripheral vision immensely and increase the wearer’s effective eye scanning range.
Contacts Aren’t Affected by Image Size
Image size is not typically a factor that comes to mind for individuals debating between glasses and contacts. However, it plays a key role in supporting the point that contacts provide overall better vision than glasses.
When you wear glasses, because they are a piece of equipment that sits in front of your eye, a factor known as image size is introduced. In order to provide visual clarity to the wearer, glasses must minimize or maximize the images within their field of vision.
If someone is near-sighted, they might notice a minus sign on their glasses’ prescription. This minus means that the glasses minimize images to correct the faults in the wearer’s vision. For a far-sighted person, the concept is the same but in reverse. They will notice a plus sign on their prescription as their glasses magnify images for increased vision.
Contacts don’t need to minimize or maximize image size because they are designed to fit on the eye. This means that images are less likely to be distorted when wearing contacts than with glasses.
They are also constructed of a specialized plastic that can mix with the tear film on your eyes, allowing them to efficiently refract and focus lights versus the glass lenses on glasses that must do this through altering image size.
Contacts Provide More Stability
A simpler reason that contacts provide better vision is that they stay firmly in place on your eye. It is rare for a contact lens to just fall out. Typically, this only happens when an individual rubs their eye too much from irritation, or there is insufficient moisture in their eye to keep the contact in place.
Because contacts are more stable as they fit your eye’s curvature, they provide constant visual clarity no matter how rigorous or swift your movements.
Conversely, it is very easy for a pair of glasses to get knocked off your face. This is why most athletes will opt for contacts versus glasses, especially if they play a fast-paced or contact sport. Therefore, in this sense that glasses are easily moved from your field of vision compared to contacts, they are the inferior option.
Contacts Provide a More Natural Eye Correction Process
Many individuals will choose to wear contacts daily rather than glasses because, once they have been applied, contacts feel more natural than glasses.
Natural eye correction is the mentality that your eyesight can improve independently without the assistance of glasses, contacts, laser eye surgery, or medications.
Although the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s 2013 report disproved this approach’s effectiveness, wearing contacts is arguably the closest option you can get to feeling like you are naturally improving your eyesight.
It is much easier to forget you are wearing a pair of contacts than a pair of glasses. This is because not only are they not directly in your field of vision, but they also move with your eye.
Another benefit is that contacts, particularly soft contacts, are typically very comfortable for the everyday user as long as they have the proper amount of moisture.
Soft contacts are made of flexible plastic and combined with your tear film. Not only does this allow oxygen to flow more easily through the lens to the cornea, but it also makes contact adjustment easier after it has been placed on the eye.
Because the contacts move with your eye and provide a moisturized but breathable fit, they are considered better for your vision if you are looking for a more natural correction process.
They also allow the wearer to be more discreet about needing visual aid, which has numerous benefits of its own.
Contacts Can Help Correct Vision and Slow Visual Degeneration
One of the most significant benefits of having contacts is that they can make your vision acuity better by correcting many common and some uncommon ocular disorders as well as slowing the process of visual degeneration.
It is a myth that individuals who don’t use eye correction but need it will cause further damage to their eyes. Despite this being a false assumption, it is true that not providing your eyes the visual assistance they need will cause them to work significantly harder and can cause a myriad of unfortunate side-effects including headaches, dizziness, eye fatigue, and more.
Luckily, wearing contacts not only prevents these side effects but it can help mitigate, decelerate, and correct your vision issues depending on which type of contacts you use.
There are two types of contacts, hard contacts, and soft contacts. Hard contacts, also known as rigid gas permeable contact lenses, are made from stiff plastic.
Hard contacts are more breathable as they allow more oxygen to reach the cornea.
Soft contacts differ primarily from hard contacts because they are made from a more flexible plastic that allows them to mold to your eye. The plastic’s flexibility often allows a more comfortable fit, which is why this contact is typically more popular than hard contacts.
I am personally a big fan of hard contact lenses. When looking at my customers eyes that wear contacts every day usually the eyes look better with hard contacts.
Both of these types of contacts can benefit individuals with certain visual needs as demonstrated by the table below.
|Lens type||Issues they can decelerate/improve||How|
|Hard Contacts||Nearsightedness/myopia Astigmatism||It has been proven that wearing these contacts can help slow down the development of nearsightedness and correct astigmatism.|
|Soft Contacts||Nearsightedness/ Myopia Hyperopia Astigmatism and Presbyopia||Soft contacts are extremely diverse in their visual aid abilities. Through the process of correcting most of these issues through visual clarity, they also help in decelerating their progression.|
|Specialty Contacts (ex. Scleral lenses)||Unique vision issues Corneal irregularities Keratoconus Exceptionally dry eyes||These lenses are built with a larger diameter to suit the needs of the wearer and help correct or improve uncommon visual irregularities.|
|Multifocal Contacts||Myopia||Studies have shown that these lenses can slow the progression of myopia, particularly in children. The lens is structured like a bullseye with two basic portions. The center portion corrects nearsightedness, offering clarity to distanced objects and focusing light directly on the retina. The outer portion adds focusing power to bring peripheral light rays into focus in front of the retina.|
Although they can certainly benefit adults and the elderly, it is highly beneficial for young adults to use contacts when their vision first starts to degenerate in order to slow the process and immediately correct any issues.
Do Not Put Them on in Order To See Good. Just Take Them Out
Did you know there are contacts you put on your eye before you go to slee
The medical world has created specialized contacts known as Orthokeratology (ortho-k) lenses that can potentially treat an eye condition, overnight. Also known as corneal reshaping contact lenses, ortho-k lenses are a type of rigid gas permeable contact that can be used to correct various temporary eye conditions. If you need consistent visual assistance, you’ll want to obtain a standard pair of contacts.
These lenses are used for a process called corneal refractive therapy (CRT). They would be applied every night and removed in the morning to provide ultimate visual acuity during the day without additional visual assistance from glasses or daily contacts.
This process is best suited for children and young adults that are too young for any type of ocular surgery, such as LASIK or refractive surgery, but strongly prefer not to wear glasses. Other potential candidates include athletes of all ages and adults who work in dirty environments where significant amounts of dust and debris could irritate their eyes.
Conditions where ortho-k and other contact lenses have been used for medical purposes include:
- Refractive errors: Essentially, this is an optical defect that prevents light from being brought into sharp focus on your retina. The result is blurred or distorted vision often in the form of myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. In temporary cases or examples of childhood myopia, Orthokeratology (ortho-k) lenses, have been used successfully.
- Corneal reshaping: Irregular corneas can be caused by trauma, scarring, or common refractive issues. Individuals with 20/20 will have a perfectly spherical cornea whereas those who are visually impaired with have a misshapen cornea. In temporary cases, ortho-k lenses can be used to correct this error.
A final example of how contacts can improve vision is not exactly a reality yet, but scientists are researching ways that they can create a contact lens that would dispense medication directly into the user’s eye after application.
This would eliminate the necessity of some more common methods, such as eye drops, which tend to be messy and difficult to use. It could also potentially have the capability of allowing medication to seep in over a longer period of time for maximum effectiveness and relief rather than constantly applying it through drops or other medications throughout the day.
Contacts Are More Comfortable for Continual Use
In terms of structure and design, contacts are better for your vision because they are typically more comfortable than glasses. There are many individuals out there who prefer to steer clear of contacts because you essentially have to touch your eye to apply them. However, despite the concerns of many, the fact that contacts sit directly on your eye does not render them uncomfortable. In reality, it has quite the opposite effect.
Contacts have come a long way since their rigid glass designs of the late 1880s. Nowadays, extreme care and ingenuity has gone into creating the most comfortable contacts for long-term use. The fact that these lenses fit to the curvature of your eye while providing ultimate clarity and visual acuity to the cornea renders them far more comfortable than the stiff frame on glasses.
For individuals that suffer from dry eyes or find that their contacts don’t provide enough moisture, there are alternative designs for specialized needs such as these.
The surprising level of comfort that comes with contacts means that you are likely to keep them on far longer than glasses. Maybe even sleep with them intact, though this is not medically recommended.
The rigid frame on glasses and their ever present nose-rest is often uncomfortable after they have been worn for long periods of time, even if they are fitted properly to the individual. Therefore, it is likely that, at one point or another throughout the day, they will be removed for a briefly to allow relief at the bridge of the nose or around the ears where they settle.
Such steps are unnecessary with contacts and, in fact, if you find that you do have to remove your contacts frequently from discomfort, you should contact your doctor. This might be a sign of an underlying issue, or you might need specialized lenses for increased comfort.
Contacts Can Increase User Confidence
Our last reason does not necessarily affect your ability to see as much as how a user perceives themselves and how others perceive them when they wear contacts versus glasses. This is especially prudent for children.
Significant studies have been conducted on how wearing glasses or contacts affect the user’s personality and personal identification. Although many studies have concluded that outside parties correlate glasses with intelligence (Thornton, 1943, 1944), others also discovered that, when wearing glasses, people were also correlated with less “desirable” traits, such as fearfulness, mildness, timidity, dependency, and sensitivity (Terry, 1989).
These studies aren’t just limited to adults, however. When a series of first-grade children were asked to rate pictures of children with and without glasses, it was discovered, according to the first-graders, that children were more likely to be less attractive, poorer at school, and more deviant when they wore their glasses (Terry and Stockton 1993).
One study also discovered that, when asked about themselves, people who first received their glasses in their childhood (younger than 13 years) or as adults (older than 20 years), experienced lower self-esteem than if they were acquired during adolescents (age 13–20 years; Terry et al., 1983).
Alternatively, obtaining contacts has been proven to significantly improve the wearer’s confidence if they previously wore glasses. A separate study discovered that, after a contact lens fitting, 70% of the subjects experienced positive changes to their personality (Gording and Match, 1968).
Although many unseemly stigmas about glasses are slowly starting to fade away as the years progress, they still profoundly affect the wearer’s confidence which manifests in other areas of their personality.
Contacts resemble normality more closely, and so, many individuals will opt for contacts first or switch to contacts from glasses to help boost their confidence in addition to other visual acuity benefits.